July 30 2009 12:01PM
The NHL is always looking at ways to generate more money, and don’t be surprised if you see you see a NHL jerseys sporting a “Wanye’s Rehab Clinic” logo in the near future.
USA Today had an interesting article describing that ads on practice and game jerseys will be reality very soon.
Read on about what it said regarding the NHL (I cut out the parts that mention the WNBA because, really, who cares):
The hunger for new revenue during the economic downturn has the NBA and NHL entertaining the once-taboo prospect of corporate sponsorships for game uniforms. Beginning this season the NBA will let teams sell ads on their practice jerseys, says deputy commissioner Adam Silver, who adds the league is continuing to explore the issue of ads on game jerseys. "We are operating a diverse business all around the world," Silver says. "(The sponsored game jersey) is a well-established practice in other countries. Ultimately, I think our fans will come to accept it." NHL chief operating officer John Collins says the league might put ads on game jerseys for the right price. The NFL's Tennessee Titans have had a small patch for a local hospital on their practice jerseys since relocating from Houston more than a decade ago, and the league put rules in place last spring to permit the activity league-wide. Five teams — the New York Jets, New York Giants, Indianapolis Colts, St. Louis Rams and Chicago Bears — have taken advantage, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy says. The Jets will get more than $2 million a year from a deal with Atlantic Health that includes practice uniform patches and its name on the team's training facility, says Matthew Higgins, the team's executive vice president of business operations. McCarthy says the NFL initiative excludes certain products, including those of alcohol, tobacco and casino companies. The NHL — which pushed the envelope 30 years ago by allowing teams to sell advertising on the boards — is going high-tech to attract corporate dollars by offering marketers the chance to insert so-called "virtual" ads inside national game telecasts on NBC and Versus. These computer-generated signs, typically superimposed on the crowd, are only visible to TV viewers and not to fans at the game. "As with anything new, you weigh tradition with the commercialization of sports," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly says. "Obviously, sports are becoming more commercialized each and every year. We have that debate internally all the time. Where do you draw the line? How much is too much? You have to protect the look and feel of the game. You look at professional hockey played in Europe and there's advertising on jerseys and on the ice. You can have so much advertising on the ice that it can be distracting to players. There's a balance there."
All of you are die-hard hockey fans: if you aren’t at the game you’ll do almost anything to ensure you're watching at home. Do the virtual ads bother you? And I’m curious if fans would really care if there were logos on NHL jerseys.
I’m a traditionalist in many facets of the game, including how it is presented. The glowing puck pissed me off to no end. How could Americans say they couldn’t see a black puck on a white ice, yet they could follow a 100 MPH fastball without a complaint?
I’d rather see them add logos to the jersey than change the size of the net, or ban fighting, or get rid of unlimited overtime in the playoffs. Those are traditions that matter to me. The introduction of third Jerseys or retro Jerseys has softened my stance on what the players wear. I would hope the sponsor logo isn’t embedded in the Oiler logo, but if it is on the shoulder patch, I could care less. Although I think a warm up jersey is a better start, rather than the actual game jersey.
When my brother played for the Birmingham Bulls, they had warm up jerseys that were black on the left half and red on the right, and they had a Chevron logo on the front shoulder and on the back below the number. It is one of the coolest looking jerseys I’ve ever seen, but they didn’t wear it in games, only in warm up.
Leagues want to make money, but will logos deface the jersey? Just because it happens in Europe doesn’t mean it has to happen here. While players come and go, fans remain loyal to the jersey. Do you want that jersey plastered with “Wanye’s Rehab Clinic” or “Brownlee’s cure for smoking” logos?